New trees have been planted in Stowmarket and Hadleigh as part of a Suffolk initiative to re-establish orchards across the county.

Volunteers from Hadleigh Environment Action Team helped plant a community orchard beside Pykenham Way footpath, while Friends of Pikes Meadow helped plant at Pikes Meadow, Elizabeth Way, and Gainsborough Road in Stowmarket.

Funding of £201,213 was received from the government’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund which will be used to plant 1,877 new trees.

Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and environment, Councillor Richard Rout, said: “Access to a green space helps improve our health and wellbeing, and can be havens for insects and support wildlife.

“It’s crucial that we continue to protect and enhance our local environment, and help reverse the decline in Suffolk’s biodiversity.”

The funding will also cover three years of maintenance of the orchards.

Council Daniel Potter, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, said: “We are working hard to increase tree coverage on council land wherever we can to help improve local biodiversity and tackle climate change.

“This most recent Forestry Commission funding has seen us plant several fruit trees in Hadleigh – helping to establish a green corridor alongside the footpath between Aldham Mill Hill and Bradfield Avenue.

“Not only will residents be able to pick the fruit and enjoy the wellbeing benefits trees can bring, but our wildlife will benefit from new habitat too.”

Councillor Tim Weller, cabinet member for environment, culture, and wellbeing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “Increasing tree coverage in Mid Suffolk is key in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss locally.

“This funding has enabled us to plant over 30 new fruit trees in open community spaces in Stowmarket, thanks to the help of local organisations and volunteers.

“Not only will the trees provide important habitat for wildlife and wellbeing benefits, but local residents will also be able to pick the fresh fruit to take home too.”

Many volunteers turned out to help with the planting.

Simon Burton, from Friends of Pikes Meadow, said: “We are planting 15 fruit trees to enhance Pikes Meadow, which is a brilliant local community area.”